Monday, October 5, 2009

Musings on US Customs...

I drove from Chicago to Toronto and back this weekend ... and along the way crossed the border at Port Huron/Sarnia twice ... which means that I had a glimps into both Canadian and US border agents along the way.

I can't say much about the actual security aspect but here are some random thoughts ...

USA --> Canada
  • No line on the border crossing
  • Border agent was very friendly
  • Asked 4 questions, looked at our passports and wished us a good trip

Canada --> USA

  • 45 minute line (4 lines for cars, 2 for trucks ... all filled)
  • Border agent was a total jerk
  • Asked 8 seemingly random questions (even for a security paranoid like myself)

From what I can tell, the long line and hassle at the US border crossing was absolutely mindless. Do I feel safer that the agent asked me how I knew the woman sitting besides me? No. Do I feel safer that the agent was a complete a** when speaking to my wife? No. Did I observe anything that would indicate that there was rhyme or reason for the "security theater" that took place at the border?

... in a word .. .No.

4 comments:

Stephan Wehner said...

This kind of stuff is related to Chicago not hosting the Olympics 2016

http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/chicagos-loss-is-passport-control-to-blame/

I myself not going to the US because of this abuse. It's arbitrary and most importantly, unaccountable: the US Border people can put you away for hours, days, years, without any reason.

Stephan

Tyler Reguly said...

I think that it's very important to clarify for readers who have never used the border crossing that the better experience was dealing with Canadian Customs Agents and the poor experience was with US Customs Agents.

Raf said...

@Tyler: YES! This is a US problem, I love you Canucks and your "hassle-free" border control.

@Stephan: I firmly believe that Chicago lost out (although I personally DID NOT WANT the Olympic fiasco and chaos in my city) at least partly due to our idiotic border control. All one of those judges would have had to do is travel in/out of the USA to realize how much of a joke the security theater we have here is. Oh well, unlikely they will admit it to themselves (the TSA) much less learn from this.

Once again, thanks for participating in a conversation!

Information Amplifier said...

Raf, you will probably dig this related tale of woe. Author beaten by US officials for asking questions about the search, then arrested, charged with assaulting an official, and then bail-released at the border in December without a coat. On-going...

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/12/11/dr-peter-watts-canad.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Google+